Nioh New Demo Hands-On Preview – Brutality Turned Up to Eleven

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During E3, we were treated very well by Koei Tecmo’s team in attendance. Not only did they let us have a shot at Attack on Titan (which was admittedly fun, even though I’m not at all a fan of the series), but we got to have a full 30 minute demo with Nioh.

Having played the original Alpha that was released as a public test, I went in skeptical. There are a lot of things that I really liked about the game – the combat, setting, atmosphere. A lot of the art direction and style is right up my alley.

But there were a number of things in the demo that left me with cold feet regarding the game; things like weapon durability and stamina management among others. The demo I played at E3 put some of those issues to rest while making others worse in the process.

There was more than one area available in the demo, though I bypassed the tutorial-like area and headed into one of the new areas to see what it was like. I was greeted with a beautiful landscape of swaying tall grains or grass, and the scenery was great.

The area was essentially a few open areas attached with corridors between them, and each open area had enemies spawn until you took them all down in a row.

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This sort of set-up was my first issue. I liked the exploration of the alpha’s area, learning where enemies were, opening shortcuts and the like. However, this area removed all of that in favor of a wave mechanic that threw enemies at me one after another.

I wasn’t upset by it initially, but seeing the entire area just repeat this did eventually get on my nerves. However, I took it in stride and instead focused on the combat.

Combat was hit or miss for me. In it’s base form, the combat is absolutely excellent. All of the action is basically fluid, intense, and visceral. However, it really begins to fall apart as the game throws more enemies at once at you – and by the time you’re trying to take on 3 or 4 enemies at once, you just get overwhelmed too quickly.

One enemy is fun and engaging, two is dangerous, exciting, and one hell of a thrill. Three enemies or more, and you’ve got a hellish experience that is more punishing than your average player will be able to handle – and this is where things started going south for me.

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I don’t want to say it was too hard, or give excuses like that. And I was able to pass the parts with lots of enemies, too. But when I did, I felt less like it was skill and morel like luck.

This sort of juggling of enemies was less an issue in the original alpha area where you could pull enemies with a ranged weapon, but here the enemies spawned in and aggro’ed to you immediately.

Nioh’s combat feels like it struggles to adapt to fighting multiple enemies, and the game isn’t made for it. That becomes immediately apparent, too, when a small group of enemies can stun lock you into oblivion if you miss your guard.

My only other complaint that remained is stamina management. Or less the management part, but rather the way that you are forced to hunch over to catch your breath if you run out.

Slow me down, make my guard drop, whatever – but making me sit there helpless for several seconds makes losing your stamina far more dangerous than any enemy in the game.

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There were a lot of good things in the demo, too, though. The removal of weapon durability was a literal life saver, and the game certainly feels better off for it. Combat still remains the biggest draw despite my gripes with it, because the gameplay is really just fun.

Despite all of my bellyaching over the multiple enemy issue I have, I absolutely had a blast playing the vast majority of the demo. I do have faith in Nioh still – and if I’m honest, I’d still be happy to play the game right now and get my face beat into the dirt over and over again as it plays now.

Why? Because it’s just fun.

Nioh is still set for a release on PS4 this year, though there’s no announced date yet.

Chris Gregoria


I’m a pretty chill guy. Huge video game fan, but a bigger anime fan. I also love to write – obviously.

  • Hawk Hopper

    That shark is very cool.

  • Jack

    It’s also one of the stronger summons

  • ahhhaahhh

    Hope this doesn’t get release on pc

  • Mr0303

    Can’t you draw out enemies one at a time like in the Souls series or is it more like arena death traps when you encounter more than a couple?

  • Master Bating

    I give it 7 months or less

  • Uncle Slick

    One of the reasons I decided to get a PS4 this year. Plenty of actual games coming out now!

  • EspomBarrack

    “Slow me down, make my guard drop, whatever – but making me sit there helpless for several seconds makes losing your stamina far more dangerous than any enemy in the game.” I think that’s the point. I had a feeling they wouldn’t change that because it is so core to how they’ve designed the game. So many abilities and mechanics built around maintaining and keeping your stamina up. I actually like it because it keeps the “Swing weapon combo till down to 5% stamina remaining, roll away, rinse, and repeat” deal Dark Souls had going for it on most normal enemies. It’s also a large part of enemies too, THEY have stamina just like the player, and managing your own to outlast them is a big part of fights with the more elite humanoid enemies.

    After playing the Public Alpha/Demo pretty much every day it was available(I think I had 20 hours in it by the end there), I learned to time my Ki Charges and outlast many enemies. It’s the most rewarding ‘stamina management’ has even been in a game like this. I feel without it this game will lose another unique thing that keeps it from being a Dark Souls clone.

  • Alex Drake

    Die in a fire

  • Minuteworld92

    Hope this gets released on pc.

  • DrearierSpider

    Spoken like a true corporate slave.

  • DrearierSpider

    Fairly confident it will, just hope Koei doesn’t use it as toilet paper before plopping it onto Steam like they’ve done with all their other PC releases.

  • DrearierSpider

    Thought the alpha was a tedious, frustrating mess but still holding out hope for this.

  • BattlerArisato

    This guy says, like, the same thing over and over, don’t reply to the obvious bait.

  • Madbrainbox

    Have a solid Berserk release and also treat this with care.That’s my wish.Hopefully they will be at least half decent.

  • RPG

    I fully agree with what you said. The stamina management is very tough and punishing, but when you get the hang of it, and utilize Ki charging, it becomes quite rewarding, and adds a great layer of depth and tension to combat. I like how it has given the combat an extra layer of complexity over the what has been seen in the souls series.

  • RPG

    I can remember in the Alpha that there were several instances where you could draw out individual enemies through either specific actions, or attacking with a ranged weapon. In particular parts it was extremely useful, as in it avoided you from being taking to a one way ticket to a an agonizing beat down by multiple foes at once.

  • RPG

    I am highly anticipating this game after playing the Alpha. The comment about the difficulty with multiple enemies does have me a bit worried though. I hope the game does not suffer from the “multiple enemies equals difficulty” crutch that Dark Souls 2 had; which is what a lot of people complained about in that game.
    Looking forward to Nioh’s eventual release.

  • Master Bating

    I know that, Im just stating my belief based on empirical evidence as a result of his regular reply.

  • Chris Mendivil

    If they are going to make it a habit to throw multiple enemies at us while we can’t do anything about that, then the stamina management neets to go. Ninja Gaiden is more fun anyway.

  • Master Bating

    Neo is coming out next year

  • The sad thing is that three people agree with him.

  • Guin

    Hope it has more playable characters than Weeb Geralt.

  • lalorobot

    *Like a true troll

  • BattlerArisato

    You’re just giving him more replies just as he probably wants, downvote or even better, just don’t give a fuck.

  • Joe

    Shame about the durability being removed. They only needed to tone it down, not remove it entirely. Heck, Zelda breath of the wild has weapon durability and they apparently break faster than they did even in the first Nioh alpha.

  • dsadsada

    I found that the way to deal with multiple enemies and NOT die from falling out of breath is to use the low stance. Evading with the low stance is already a ki pulse so just throw a few hits, evade, hit a different enemy, evade, repeat.

  • Kiwi Hoy
  • EroBotan

    can’t nichegamer ban him? he’s an obvious troll

  • Minuteworld92

    this isn’t gematsu

  • doog

    Looking forward to this game more than anything else that was announced at e3.

  • Shiggy Diggy Doo

    Enemies also don’t rape you in 2 hits

  • Shiggy Diggy Doo

    So Weeb Geralt

  • Hayate D. Nimbus

    Hoping the game doesn’t just get steady nerfed with the alpha and beta demo’s feedback. So tired of games taking it easy on people after a few kids go online and piss and moan about difficulty.

  • EroBotan

    every forum should have a rules lol.

    Being a troll, acute repeat offender, and his post never contribute anything worth to the discussion.

    It’s also tiresome for us to remind newbies that he’s a troll.

  • Minuteworld92

    get thicker skin, it’s not my fault you’re a pussy. you can flag and block repeat offenders.

  • Master Bating

    He wont stop posting regardless.

  • (Ω)

    And why not?

  • Sylveria Shini

    It’s KT though. They love selling DLC characters and costumes.

  • Chocolate ISISCream


  • how ya doin?

    What are you talking about? Koei has no control over the exclusivity, You want to complain go to talk to Sony about it, and as they said it’s exclusive

  • how ya doin?

    They said that the difficulty is still there so no worries

  • EroBotan

    lol, i get into a real physical fight in real life a lot. And most of the time it’s me alone vs a bunch of thugs.

    No one is offended here, just annoyed for reading the same troll over & over again.

  • Shiggy Diggy Doo



  • Smug

    >this comment

  • Jack


  • EroBotan

    not my problem if it’s bothers you lol